More Than Just Brands, Status and Exclusivity?
Exploring the Luxury Experience and Luxury Experience Management, Special issue of the Journal of Marketing Management; Deadline 3 May 2021
Author: Philipp Klaus
The market for luxury has been growing consistently. In 2018, the luxury segment represented an estimated $1.2 trillion but given Bain & Company’s COVID-19 driven estimates of a forthcoming year on year decline of up to 30% it is crucial to better understand the basis of value in this industry (D’Arpizio et al., 2020). To date academic research reflects the sector growth as rooted in its solid foundation of luxury goods and brands knowledge. Scholars and managers alike emphasize the ever-increasing importance of the luxury experience for understanding and catering to the luxury customer. However, understanding and exploring what constitutes the luxury experience is a challenge. By robustly stimulating the demand for luxury and, therefore, its growth, the luxury customer experience has become increasingly important for the luxury industry (Klaus, 2019).
Despite its crucial importance for the luxury sector (Deloitte, 2019), and with some early exceptions (Atwal & Williams, 2009), research exploring the luxury experience is sparse (Klaus, 2020). According to Deloitte (2019), the global luxury market comprises nine segments: personal luxury goods, luxury hospitality, luxury cruises, luxury cars, designer furniture, fine wines and spirits, fine food, private jets and yachts, and fine art. Researchers agree that hedonic motivations and associated experiences are prevalent in luxury settings, more than in any others (Husic & Cicic, 2009), which has implications for luxury brand and customer experience management (Klaus, 2018; Steenkamp, 2014). Customers desire luxury products because they want the experience which they hope the products will render to them (Holbrook 2006). CX refers to what “a customer finds unique, memorable and sustainable over time” (Pine and Gilmore 1998, p, 12), influencing customer emotions (Palmer 2010). What customers get emotional about is a prognosis of what they consider to be important (O’Shaughnessy and O’Shaughnessy 2003). Thus, emotions play a distinguishing role in customer experience (Oliver, 2014). More research exploring the role of emotions in the luxury experience, or challenging existing works on the role of emotions in the luxury customer experience is needed.
Luxury research focuses primarily on five pillars: exclusivity (e.g., Fionda & Moore, 2009), hedonics (e.g., Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2009), product quality (e.g., Vigneron & Johnson, 2004), authenticity (e.g., Beverland, 2006), and price (e.g., Parguel et al., 2016). Although becoming more important for luxury managers (Berghaus et al., 2014) and scholars (Holmqvist et al., 2019), luxury customer experience (CX) research is still underdeveloped. Most luxury CX research is either conceptual by nature (e.g., Ko et al., 2016), explores only the antecedents and the consequences of the experience, as well as related concepts (e.g., Shukla et al., 2016), or focuses on the experience’s experiential aspects rather than on a holistic conceptualization of CX (Lemon & Verhoef, 2016) or is grounded in a specific non–generalisable context (Kreuzer et al., 2019). While omni-channel retail management is becoming more and more relevant in the luxury field, truly little research explores if, and if yes, how customers use and embrace new channels (Klaus, 2020). Managerial literature does not provide any guidance in addressing this task sufficiently either (Piotrowicz and Cuthbertson 2014). Most of the insights and advice consultants and managers are offering on how to manage the luxury CX are, however, anecdotal in nature. In general, they are lacking both, rigor, and the scientific knowledge to explore what constitutes and what drives the luxury CX, leaving scholars with plenty of opportunities to contribute to advancing luxury customer experience knowledge and management.
The special issue will make a clear and significant contribution to the customer experience (CX) luxury, and consumer behaviour literature streams. CX is considered a highly significant, but still conceptually developing research construct (e.g., Lemon & Verhoef, 2016). While CX is often proposed as a contextspecific construct, very little research has been conducted to test this proposition (e.g., Imhof & Klaus, 2019). Researchers agree upon that CX is driven by consumers’ emotions and emotional stages. This is in particularly true in the luxury segment (Rosenbaum et al., 2019), yet scholars submit that not all luxury contexts and segments are the same (Klaus, 2018), and both, the CX and the customers’ emotional stages are dynamic in nature and can change over time (De Keyser et al., 2015). As of today, there is to the best of our knowledge, no empirical research done to explore these dynamics, the luxury CX, and luxury customers’ motivations and benefits they are seeking. Our special issue will address and fill this important research gap.
List of sample topics
We welcome conceptual, methodological, and empirical contributions (qualitative or quantitative) contributions grounded in a range of perspectives that offer insights into the central topic of this Special Issue. These topics include, but are not limited to:
- What constitutes the luxury CX?
- Do the traditional luxury branding rules still apply in the new CX-focused luxury marketing management?
- Is the luxury segment heterogenous in nature? If yes, what is the cause of the heterogeneity (demographics, old versus new money, etc.)?
- The role of emotions in the luxury CX.
- The dynamic nature of the luxury CX.
- The customer experience of luxury.
- Exploration of the different motivations to engage in luxury consumption.
- New trends in luxury customer behavior (such as use versus possession).
- The role of sustainability in luxury CX
- The contribution and impact of technology on the luxury CX.
- From consumer to influencer, how can brands use the affiliation with luxury customers to their benefit.
- A meta-analysis of luxury research.
Authors should submit manuscripts of between 8,000–10,000 words (excluding tables, references, captions, footnotes and endnotes). All submissions must strictly follow the guidelines for the Journal of Marketing Management. These are available at:
Manuscripts should be submitted online using the Journal of Marketing Management ScholarOne
New users should first create an account. Once a user is logged onto the site submissions should be made via the Author Centre. Authors should prepare and upload two versions of their manuscript. One should be a complete text, while in the second all document information identifying the author should be removed from the files to allow them to be sent anonymously to referees. When uploading files authors will then be able to define the non-anonymous version as “Complete paper with author details”, and the anonymous version as “Main document minus author information”. To submit your manuscript to the Special Issue choose “Special Issue Article” from the Manuscript Type list when you come to submit your paper. Also, when you come to the ‘Details and Comments’ page, answer ‘yes’ to the question ‘Is this manuscript a candidate for a special issue’ and select the Special Issue Title of Luxury Experience in the text field provided.
All manuscripts will be evaluated primarily on the basis of adequate coverage of the research domain, originality in summarizing our understanding of what we know, and what we do not know, and the potential for advancing understanding of the field of services. Other important considerations include the length-contribution ratio, and the quality of written expression.
Potential contributors can contact the Special Issue Editors to discuss their ideas for a paper prior to submitting a formal proposal. Please direct any questions about the submission process to the guest editors.
- Prof. Dr. Phil Klaus email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Prof. Caroline Tynan email: email@example.com
The closing date for submissions is 3 May 2021.Technical queries about submissions can be referred to the Editorial Office: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Beverland, M., (2006). The ‘real thing’: branding authenticity in the luxury wine trade. Journal of Business Research, 59(2), 251–258. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2005.04.007
D’Arpizio, C., Levato, F., Fenili, S., Colacchio, F. and Prete, F. (2020, March 26). Bain & Company Brief: Luxury after Covid-19: Changed for (the) Good? Retrieved from https://www.bain.com/insights/luxury-after-coronavirus/
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Klaus, P. (2020). The End of The World as We Know It? The Influence of Online Channels on the Luxury Customer Experience. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services.
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Rosenbaum, M. S., Ramirez, G. C., Campbell, J., & Klaus, P. (2019). The product is me: Hyper-personalized consumer goods as unconventional luxury. Journal of Business Research. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.05.017
Shukla, P., Banerjee, M., & Singh, J. (2016). Customer commitment to luxury brands: Antecedents and consequences. Journal of Business Research, 69(1), 323-331. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2015.08.004
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